Published: 00:00, 10 January 2019
Ebbsfleet United have saved almost half a million pounds in two months but fans have been warned their financial restructure is still far from complete.
The departure of manager Daryl McMahon, his entire coaching staff and five players have gone some way to balancing the books at Stonebridge Road.
New managing director Dave Archer is conducting a root-and-branch investigation of the club’s finances with the aim of reducing dependency on Dr Abdulla Al-Humaidi’s external funding.
Archer, supported by manager Garry Hill, is working around the clock to implement the business plan he was asked to draw up by the Fleet’s Kuwaiti owner.
He’s made significant progress but admits the job which seemed daunting when he took it on still has plenty of obstacles to overcome.
Archer said: “I’ve waited all my life for this opportunity and I can’t think of a better place to be than Ebbsfleet United FC.
“I’ll be 60 in May and I thought this level of opportunity had passed me by. I was comfortable with that – I’ve no great ego to be anyone special – but I have got a strong affinity with this football club and its fanbase. I’ve travelled to each and every away game with the fans.
“I knew what needed to be done. Was it daunting? Yes, but I can see a little dot of light at the end of a very long tunnel.
“Will I get there? I hope so. It won’t be for the want of trying. I’m in here every day at 7.15am and I’m one of the last to leave at night. I’ll give it everything I’ve got and if that’s not good enough, I can’t do any more.
“My mantra is ‘Fleet first’. I put Ebbsfleet United first in everything I do, even if that upsets other clubs with loan deals and I’ll continue that way.”
Archer was appointed managing director on November 9, the day after Hill succeeded McMahon as manager. Coaches Aaron McLean, Stacy Long and Michael Jordan soon followed Steve Gritt and David Jupp out of the club and players were next to go.
Darren McQueen, Kenny Clark and Luke Coulson all agreed moves to other National League clubs and Sean Shields departed on loan, Jack Powell having joined Maidstone in October.
“We had a significant management team at the football club,” Archer said. “That’s not to be critical of it, it’s just to purely state facts.
“Most of the savings have come via the six departures. We’ve replaced two of those with Garry Hill and Ian Hendon but rather than take on full-time coaching staff, Garry tends to target certain areas of the squad he wants to focus on and brings in session coaches.
“Mick Payne, the England C goalkeeping coach, has been brought in to work with Nathan Ashmore and Jonathan Miles on certain days of the week and we have also used Nigel Gurney for our opposition assessment on a part-time basis.
“A significant saving has been made so we are on our way but there is a long way to go.
“The business plan sets up the need for a root-and-branch look at everything we do at the club. I know people are impatient for it to be completed but they tend to focus just on the playing squad and team management but every single element of every penny we spend at this club is now being looked at.
“The non-football structure of staffing levels and all our goods and services are being checked for the best possible price.
“The target to complete is by May, so we start next season with a clean slate, we know exactly what Dr Abdulla is going to invest each month – still significant sums – and we believe that’s the way forward for the long-term sustainability of this football club.”
Archer served the Fleet as general manager and commercial director but nothing compares to the last two months.
“It’s been tough,” he said. “Since Daryl’s departure and Garry’s appointment, we’ve achieved a lot. We’ve saved almost half a million but that won’t be seen fully until the previous team management’s compromise agreements come to a conclusion.
“By the end of April, we should see a significant drop in the amounts of money Dr Abdulla has to put in each month. The target on all of this is to commence next season with less dependency on the Doctor’s funding.
“I didn’t think we would achieve so much in such a short time but I’m so impressed with the support I’ve received from Garry Hill and Ian Hendon. They’ve been absolutely magnificent since day one.
“Garry is a proper down-to-earth guy. We meet in my office every morning at 7.20am and we sit here for an hour or so before he drives down to K Sports for training and we decide what we’re going to do that week.
“It’s an ongoing process. I’ve read certain remarks from fans and they’ve said ‘when is this restructure going to be over?’ but I would argue we’re only 30-40% of the way through it.”